Thread Together: Immerse


  1. How did you immerse yourselves in your respective problem space, what have you accomplished (summarize)?

This week we had a phone call meeting with Kaila, our community partner and asked her about what The Community Cloth’s needs and goals are by the term “customer engagement”. This led us down the path of discussing how we want these women to be seen and what would make a good story. During our weekly team meeting we each classified our own expectations for this problem space and discussed how they aligned in terms with our team and the community partner’s vision. We then used this to come up with common themes which led us to realize the difference between evoking sympathy and empathy in the customers.

  1. Who are stakeholders within your problem spaces? Organizations? Places? (Be specific)

The main stakeholders within our problem space are the artisans that work with The Community Cloth. Their supplemental income to support their families (some of which are very large) depends on customers purchasing their products. They also have a wealth of stories from their personal experiences that are not being communicated well, resulting in a lost opportunity for the public to connect with them. We believe that telling these stories more effectively is key to increasing customer engagement, which would in turn have financial benefits for the artisans as well as reducing the sense of refugees as “others” within the Houston community.

  1. What are stories, quotes and observations from user research?
    1. Stories and quotes we gathered from The Community Cloth include some basic information about the team of artisans and an interview with one of the women in the organization. Some things we learned were that almost all of the women like Houston because of the warm weather, like making scarves, and like The Community Cloth because of the community. One of the quotes from the interview, when asked why she was interested in community cloth was “I’m interested because I love knitting. I love it. With The Community Cloth, it’s my family. Yeah, I’m interested with them. It’s very good for me. I like it.” When asked what she liked about Houston, the woman responded “Everything. The food and the weather. The weather is— [laughter] I like it because it’s not cold. The same as my country. Everything is beautiful. I like Houston. I go to Los Angeles and to New Jersey and Seattle, and I don’t like the weather. I like Houston. I feel it’s my home, like my country.” We think that quotes like these are what is important to focus on, the more relatable experiences that help to reduce the sense of “otherness” to a user.
  2. What are 4-5 key insights that your team discovered? Remember that an insight is not just a statement or a fact. It is that combined with something not statistical (something that might not be obvious, might require inference, is a theme among user stories).
    1. Focusing on the hardships of the refugee experience evokes sympathy in the customer, whereas a focus on the culture and traditions evokes empathy.
    2. Recognizing the individuality of each artisan is necessary to strengthen genuine interpersonal connections between the customer and the artisan.
    3. Telling stories grounded in universally relatable themes (family, sources of joy, etc.) helps to break down assumptions about the generalized “refugee experience.”
  3. Describe a persona that exemplifies the characteristics and challenges of your user. (This persona can and should be inspired by real stories)
    1. Our user is someone Kaila describes as a “conscious customer”. These people are typically women in their late 20s to late 30s with a disposable income that are socially conscious and engaged in the Maker Movement that is growing in Houston. These women care about connecting with the stories and experiences of the artisans that they are buying from, not just the product itself. We hope to meet and interview some of these conscious customers at the TCC booth at the “Cultural Thanksgiving” event that we will be attending this Sunday. We also hope to get in touch with the manager of one of the boutiques that TCC partners with and learn more about their message and commitment to artisan goods and about the people who frequently shop at their stores.  


How can we use the individal stories of TCC artisans so social concsicous customers in houston can better understand the refugee experience

Add photos (of you guys out in the world or working together), diagrams, data visuals, and any other content you find helpful!


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